Under-performing judges face axe

Source: Under-performing judges face axe – Sunday News Jan 29, 2017

Harare Bureau
UNDER-PERFORMING High Court judges face disciplinary action and possible dismissal from the bench under new rules tailored to promote judicial efficiency and excellence.

The dispensation, which takes effect this legal term, has the Chief Justice assessing the individual performances of judges based on their rulings.

Under-performers will be answerable to the Judicial Service Commission which can advise the President to set up a tribunal to assess the performances in question.

The tribunal will then determine the judges’ fate, with a possible outcome being dismissal.

Section 187 of Zimbabwe’s Constitution provides that a judge can be removed from office for, among other issues, gross incompetence or gross misconduct.

The JSC has the prerogative to advise the President on the question of removing any judge and if such a recommendation is made, the Head of State must appoint the said tribunal.

JSC Secretary Justice Rita Makarau told Our Harare Correspondent that the Commission communicated the new rules to judges after Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku’s recent warning against lackluster work.

She said, “We have given a warning to the judges to say that this term, together with the Office of the Chief Justice, we are now going to be closely monitoring them and they are going to be held accountable.

“It has been the tradition that at the end of each new term, the Chief Justice asks for a review of judges’ performances and compares them against those of their peers.

“In the past, some judges got away without any action being taken against them, but for this term, it is not going to be business as usual for those who under-perform.”

She added, “There are those who stand out for good performance while others stand out for poor performance. (After their cases have been brought to the JSC), the concerned judges will be allowed to comment and explain why they failed to perform to expectations.

‘‘These explanations will also be used to determine their fate.”

Justice Makarau said the number of judgments set aside by the Supreme Court was also an assessment benchmark.

The Supreme Court is empowered at law to nullify a High Court judgment.

“The performance of judges does not involve the quantitative side alone, it also involves the qualitative aspect. While on the quantitative side, a judge may be deemed to have performed poorly based on the number of judgments made, one of the benchmarks of the qualitative aspect is whether a judgment has been set aside by the Supreme Court.


  • comment-avatar

    If under-performing means corrupt (which it does) then they should all be fired.